Monash Partners and the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME) have formed a strategic partnership to help turn clinical problems into real world solutions.
Health service clinicians together with biomedical engineers and health information and communications technology researchers offer ground-breaking clinical and community driven innovation initiatives which lead the way to development, translation and impact within health care.
MIME works as an established clinical innovation platform offering technology solutions in the form of new devices, diagnostics, therapeutics, IT, digital health, advanced analytics, delivery systems and clinical tools for urgent and unmet clinical and patient needs.
MIME’s core objectives to deliver are:
- Health outcomes driven by clinical need.
- High impact research.
- Workforce capacity building.
Some examples of the work produced includes:
- an Australian first robotic exoskeleton to allow minimally invasive surgery for children
- non-invasive wearable technology to detect seizure events in patients with epilepsy
- a point-of-care device to detect elevated troponin-1 levels indicating heart attack and inform decision making regarding hospitalisation
- a new approach to assessment of bone healing, eliminating the need for X-Ray or CT, to guide when mobilisation can occur.
We are truly proud to be a part of the only Australian platform which creates an end to end pipeline, turning clinical health problems into innovative solutions which deliver a huge impact within the community.
Read more about MIME's work, HERE.
MIME’s priorities are to:
- Clinically drive integration with research priorities defined by clinical need
- Focus on close collaboration and integration of engineers and IT researchers within the clinical environment
- Focus on translational research that will lead to the development of new products and technologies that will have significant benefits for patients
- Develop close partnership with hospitals, industry and allied organisations such as the CSIRO to ensure the development, commercialisation and adoption of technologies
- Create and support a collaborative research network and engage diverse multidisciplinary teams to solve complex real-world problems
- Foster emerging research in areas that will provide the next generation of medical technologies
- Build critical mass in the areas where we can deliver greatest research leadership and impact
- Accelerate the availability of new technologies via first-in-human clinical trials and community engagement.
The Platform is led by Professor Helena Teede and Professor John Forsythe. It is supported by Clinical Director, Associate Professor Liz Sigston.
Professor Helena Teede
Professor Helena Teede holds leadership roles across health care, research and policy including as the Director of Monash Centre for Health Research, Implementation, School of Public Health and co-director of the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering, an Endocrinologist at Monash Health, and Executive Director of Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre.
Professor John Forsythe
Professor John Forsythe is a research leader in the field of biomaterials engineering - particularly in the area of neural tissue engineering which explores the use of biomaterials and cells to rewire neural circuitry following injury at Monash University. He has led numerous ARC and NHMRC funded research programs in innovative biomaterials and was previously a chief investigator in the Monash Vision Group (MVG).
MIME is supported by the following secretariat:
- Andrew Carey, Program Manager
- Victoria Koutsoubos, Executive Officer
- Amanda Boshier, Media and Communications Manager
MIME is overseen by an Executive Group of Monash University whose membership comprises:
- Professor Marc Parlange, Provost
- Mr Ken Sloan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise)
- Professor Elizabeth Croft, Dean of Faculty of Engineering
- Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of Medicine, Nursing and the Health Sciences
- Ann Nicholson, Interim Dean of Faculty of IT
- Mr Brett Waldegrave, Manager, Research and Revenue Accounting Services.
MIME Seed Funding
Monash Partners and the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering supports MIME Seed Fund projects. Seed funding is available to support partnerships with IT/digital health or engineering researchers to discover new medical solutions including technologies, devices and digital health. Read more about MIME seed funding, HERE.
Current Seed Fund supported projects include:
Improving outcomes in CPR patients
Dr Andrew Stephens
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving first-aid technique which improves the survivability of people suffering cardiac arrest. Current cardiac arrest survival rates are low even when CPR is administered by professionals such as physicians and paramedics (5-15%). The outcomes for unwitnessed cardiac arrest is even worse (2-4%); in these cases, CPR may be administered by a bystander or medical professional with no indication of the duration of time which the patient has spent in cardiac arrest – resulting in the potential for severely deleterious neurological outcomes. Other critical factors affecting cardiac arrest outcomes besides the “no-flow” time between cardiac arrest and commencement of CPR include the quantity (flow) and quality (pressure) of perfusion to the brain and heart coronaries during CPR. Recent clinical studies have shown that blood perfusion to the brain (cerebral perfusion) is a reliable predictor of cardiovascular and neurological outcomes for people receiving CPR.
Developing automated technology to improve neonatal breath sound assessment
Dr Faezeh Marzbanrad
- Newborn infants are at high risk of respiratory problems, especially if they are born through a high risk pregnancy or delivery, like prematurity or poor transition at birth due to any underlying cause. Frequently, these infants are commenced on life saving respiratory support. Most preterm infants and (preterm and term) infants who transition poorly have an underlying lung condition that results from either surfactant deficiency or poor/ delayed lung fluid clearance - leading to decrease in alveloar (tissue) surface area available to perform gas exchange. The only current way to assess their lung pathology or function, most importantly the functional residual capacity of their lungs (i.e. baseline aeration of the lungs after normal breathing efforts) is to do a chest radiograph. This involves exposure to ionising radiation and hence can not be done on a very frequent basis. The conventional stethoscope offers us a tool to assess their breath sounds, but given the small size of the neonatal chest, fast breath rates, and conduction of heart sounds, is not of much value to clinicians to make an objective assessment of the lung function or aeration. This project will help develop technology which could assist in the objective assessment of lung aeration or conductance of breath sounds through diseased or collapsed lung tissue, so as to provide meaningful real time monitoring devices.
The 'melanopic eye' wearable for healthy light exposure
Professor Jon McCormack
- It is now well-known that disrupted rhythms are a core feature of nearly all chronic disease. Apart from long-duration and costly in-laboratory studies (including multiple blood/saliva sampling and assaying for melatonin), there is no way to measure an individual's circadian rhythms. The "melanopic eye" (light sensor pin) can record and the ambient light input and activity of an individual. With this, we are able to model the timing of the internal circadian clock. Further, as the primary synchroniser of the clock is ambient light, the device will be able to both model the current state of the clock and prescribe a light environment appropriate for optimal timing of the clock relative to the individual's desired sleep/wake schedule. Essentially, this device can direct individuals toward the light cycle that will give them the circadian timing needed for optimal sleep. The real-time feedback system could give simple light seeking/avoiding directions via the Bluetooth-coupled app.
Improved outcomes for trauma patients
Dr Andrew Stephens
- Acute trauma with major blood loss and cardiac arrest are two pathologies where every detail of the therapeutic efforts can decide whether a patient lives or dies. The incidence rates and the case fatality risks of both sicknesses are extraordinarily high, which results in a huge potential to save the lives of patients through research and development. This project will see development of a catheter with integrated sensors allowing adjustable aortic occlusion for REBOA to save patients from reperfusion injury death after major trauma and/or resuscitation.
Simulation-based ECMO educational model
Dr Shaun Gregory
- Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are two of the most significant causes of death worldwide. Regardless of the cause, sustaining metabolic oxygen requirements and carbon dioxide elimination is essential to ensure organs vitality until the clinical condition is resolved. Thus, whether patients are healing from cardiothoracic surgery, ADRS or have chronic end-stage failure and are awaiting heart or lung transplant, the functions of the heart and/or lungs must be maintained which requires a reliable extracorporeal solution. This project aims to develop a reliable and realistic educational ECMO model, addressing current training and testing barriers for safer and more efficient ECMO care.
Early detection of carbapenem resistance
Professor Nicolas Voelcker
- Growing resistance to carbapenems, last-line antibiotics for multi-drug resistant bacteria, has generated a critical need for new methods to quickly identify its presence in patients.
Development of a 3D opthalmic simulator model
Dr Zoe Keon-Cohen
- Regional anaesthesia is one of the most common anaesthesia procedures worldwide, with over 420,000 cataract procedures in Australia alone, and enables patients otherwise too sick for surgery to regain eye-sight. Anaesthetic fluid is injected to achieve painless and rapid akinesia (eye stillness). Serious complications are rare but devastating, such as brainstem injection, global or nerve puncture causing visual impairment, muscle injury or blindness. Three major types of blocks are used around the eye ball, depending on the patient’s pathology and risk of bleeding. Training on human subjects is risky; use of animal cadavers is no longer ethically appropriate and does not accurately replicate human anatomy. No known simulation and feedback model is available for eye anaesthesia, especially in differentiating accurate anatomical variation and types of anaesthesia injection techniques. This simulation model aims to reduce time for novices to achieve unsupervised competency from 4 weeks and combined with an online mobile educational program will increase accessibility of training to remote and regional areas. The ability to standardize and practice steps for block procedures is a proven and significant benefit to both training and safety. 3D printing has rapidly developed into an affordable, available and adaptable tool to augment personalized care in medicine, with many applications in head and neck surgery, orthopaedic joint implants, cell printing, anatomical models for teaching and surgical training for procedures such as nasal surgery and temporal bone dissection. We propose to use 3D printing to create a world-class selection of realistic simulation models for training that have varying depth, space around the orbit.
Accelerometer for head injury
Dr Elahe Abdi
- The game of Australian Football is a contact sport that involves high flying marks and high impact tackles. Head impacts are common. At present, the identification of players at risk of concussion in the elite and semi-elite leagues is largely based on subjective detection of signs by medical or support staff during game, and/or review of video footage post-game. In amateur and junior games the process is of identifying at-risk players is variable, and trained medical and support staff are rarely present. Any adverse effects of head injury are reliant on self-reports by players or observation by support staff. Mild traumatic brain injury may therefore be under-diagnosed. This project will develop an accelerometer to accurately measure forces sustained to the head during sport.
Thrombosis in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Dr Shaun Gregory
- Cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are two of the most significant causes of death worldwide, yet the lack of heart and lung transplants necessitates the use of mechanical support in the form of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Despite increased clinical experience internationally with ECMO, thrombosis is still a common complication that leads to increased morbidity and mortality. Thrombosis is caused by three primary elements: 1. Blood flow stasis, 2. Hypercoagulabilty, and/or 3. Endothelial injury. Unfortunately, ECMO predisposes patients to all three of these elements. The surgical attachment site uses a poorly designed cannula to drain and infuse blood, which is prone to blood flow stasis. Recipients of ECMO are the sickest of patients and often present with abnormal coagulopathy, while ECMO-induced shear on the patient’s blood cells intensifies this element. Finally, surgical attachment requires invasive implantation of the ECMO cannula within the patient’s blood vessels. This project aims to reduce thrombosis in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation using a multifactorial fluid dynamics and pharmaceutical approach.
MIME/Monash Partners MRFF funded projects
The following projects have been funded through the Australian Government's Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) as part of the Rapid Applied Research Translation program. This specific MRFF funding is distinct from other MRFF funding streams and is only available via the Advanced Health Research Translation Centres.
Expanding home based care for jaundiced infants
Associate Professor James Doery and Prof Shen Wei
- Jaundice (yellow skin), affects 60% of newborns and is due to elevated bilirubin in the first few days of life. Babies are often kept in costly Special Care Nurseries, separated from new parents for monitoring. Monitoring now requires hours to take and transfer precious babies blood samples to labs, delaying diagnosis and treatment. Our team of engineers and clinicians are working together on a flexible and waterproof infant’s wrist bilirubin monitor, which will deliver low-cost and user-friendly technology to support home-based monitoring and care, avoiding unnecessary separation of newborns from their parents.
Real time surveillance of fungal infections to improve clinical care
Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah
- This project will use world first technology to automate surveillance of fungal infections in patients with blood cancer with real-time analytics and feedback. The impact will be better patient outcomes through earlier diagnosis, more effective prevention measures and the careful use of antifungal medications.
Paediatric Robotic Platform
- A robotic surgical system for intricate paediatric surgery is non-existent globally, and the clinical need for such a system is very clear and loud from various clinical experts worldwide. This initiative, a first viable prototype design, has the potential to be a ground-breaking feat to produce an Australian first robotic exoskeleton to allow minimally invasive surgery for children. The proposed technology development program will leapfrog the existing technologies and enable clinical applications not currently viable using existing commercially available technology.
Automated seizure detection for patients with epilepsy
- The aim of this project is to develop a low-cost, flexible and non-invasive novel wearable sensor for the detection of seizure events experienced by epilepsy patients. An interactive smartphone app will also be developed to synchronize with the wearable sensor and transmit data to a data cloud server to be reviewed by a specialist in real time, so that the medical management can be optimized.
Point of care assays for cardiovascular health
- Of the 80,000 Victorians presenting to hospital each year with acute chest pain only 15% require treatment. The development of a point-of-care device to detect elevated troponin-1 levels indicating heart attack can inform decision making regarding hospitalisation. This simple and sensitive test could be carried out in ambulances or local health clinics, such that a heart attack could be rapidly ruled in or out as a cause of chest pain, thereby ensuring patients with heart attack are transported to appropriate cardiac capable hospitals and patients without heart attack may not need to be transported to emergency rooms.
Clinical trial of a non-radioactive bone healing assessment technique
- Measuring the healing of a fractured femur that has been repaired using an implant is important not only to monitor the implant but also, more importantly, for the person to know when they can return to normal life. Current methods utilising X-ray and CT-scans expose the person to possibly unnecessary radiation and the assessments are subjective. The proposed solution is to complement international work funded by the US Navy and develop a device that would assess the healing of long bones eliminating the need for X-Ray or CT, to guide when mobilisation can occur
Monash Healthcare Innovation Summer Scholarships
Monash Partners and the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering supports Monash Healthcare Innovation Summer Scholarships (HISS) projects. The scheme connects undergraduate and master’s students from across disciplines with clinicians who seek a technological solution to clinical problems. Students and clinicians will work together for 12 weeks to evaluate concepts for new technologies and create proof-of-concept prototypes.
2019/2020 supported projects included:
- Technological alignment of DHHS referrals to SECASA FV
- Improving efficacy and security of multimedia messaging services (MMS) between clinicians
- Subcutaneous immunoglobulin therapy (SCIG) and primary Immunodeficiency
- Women and culturally and linguistically diverse individuals' heart failure
- Mobile device smart visual acuity chart
- GDM pregnancy risk: A risk calculator for pregnancy complications in gestational diabetes
- Smart Phone App for Post Lung Transplant recipients
- Expansion of the e-STAR-MH
- Postpartum haemorrhage risk model app
- The Team Emergency Assessment Measure (TEAM®) App
- Mobile phone app to enhance hand and arm rehabilitation
- Eight spectrums of autism
- Helping stroke survivors return to work
- KetoKids AU | Monash Children’s Diet and Seizure Tracker
- Burns rehab app
- Customisable clinical decision support system
- ‘ASKFertility’: Development of a fertility App
- ‘ASK Early Menopause’: Development of an Early Menopause App
MIME fosters and coordinates translational medtech research across Monash University faculties, partner hospitals and collaborating medical research institutions. We help turn clinical problems into real world solutions. Professor Helena Teede Co-Director Monash Institute of Medical Engineering